Apple roundup: China Mobile, Samsung trial, procurement, iPhone 6 pricing

|About: China Mobile Limited (CHL)|By:, SA News Editor

China Mobile (CHL) says it will unveil a new mobile service brand on Dec. 18, during the company's 4G partners conference. That's fueling hopes the world's largest carrier (700M+ subs) will make its long-expected iPhone (AAPL) launch announcement.

The WSJ has previously reported Apple is preparing to ship iPhones to China Mobile, and Chinese regulators have certified the iPhone for use on the carrier's 3G and 4G networks. A China Mobile launch is crucial to Apple's efforts to halt Chinese smartphone share losses to cheaper Android phones.

A USPTO examiner has invalidated Apple's '915 patent, which covers pinch-to-zoom and scrolling UI features. Though Apple will doubtlessly appeal, Samsung has filed an emergency motion to halt its damages retrial (previous) against Apple, since the '915 patent was the only one asserted in Apple's California suit for which it was claiming lost profits.

Digitimes reports Apple is taking control of component procurement from its contract manufacturers. If true, that suggests Apple sees room to improve its margins by handling procurement on its own.

Susquehanna notes a large-screen iPhone 6 (widely expected to launch in 2014) could carry a price premium (the firm estimates $50-$100), and thereby allow Apple to halt recent iPhone ASP declines. The current pricing for Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 phablet (AT&T and Verizon sell it for a subsidized $300) lends credence to that argument.